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The hardcover club

Hardcover or trade paper? Author Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, whose first novel, The Nettle Spinner, is being published by Goose Lane Editions this spring (following a short-story collection), brings a personal perspective to that age-old debate in an essay for the Bookninja site. In “Hardcover Logo: Confessions of a Trade Paper Original.” Kuitenbrouwer writes, “I propose that a brand new hardcover purchase has a seriousness to it. That its high price and strong architecture signal an earnestness, a solid worth, an implicit value that the consumer absolutely cannot do without, right now, and also that the book’s author is necessarily substantial.”

And as McClelland & Stewart’s Ellen Seligman tells Kuitenbrouwer, the economics can be favourable to hardcover. The margin on hardcovers is so much higher that it tends to more than offset any additional sales that trade paper may inspire. “Often a hardcover and a trade paperback original may end up selling the same amount, in which case there is less of a [financial] return on trade paperbacks,” says Seligman.

Related links:
Click here for Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s Bookninja essay